ISO9001 & Quality Objectives
Creating, establishing and recording quality objectives are an essential requirement of both getting and maintaining your ISO9001 Quality certification. Setting and working towards a set of quality objectives can also have benefits for your business strategy and will help drive continual improvement and growth.
Quality objectives are covered in section 6.2 of ISO9001:2015 Quality management systems standard. Objectives are also a common element to any of the management systems standards. This means that if you are working towards or thinking about adding ISO14001, AS/NZS4801 or ISO27001 later in the game you will be required to create objectives relevant for these standards as well. But when it comes ISO9001, quality objectives are one of the only three key pieces of documented information outside of required records you will be required to have. You are also required to have your quality system scope and policy to be documented along with your quality objectives.
Now here is where “the rubber hits the road.” The key thing is that most people discount the importance of setting clear, realistic and achievable quality objectives when beginning their certification journey. It is a key competent that some our of people even think it is the MOST IMPORTANT part of the standard that unfortunately a lot of people tend to get wrong at the start. If you don’t know where you are going – how on earth are you going to get there? Your quality objectives are your map – your guide to improving your business services or products.Your objectives should be key indicators of your businesses success, growth and goals. If your meeting your quality objectives your business is heading in the right direction. Some people may already have these concepts in place but call their quality objectives something else. They are seen in other forms such as a business vision or KPIs. These are all effective tools to help develop quality objectives, but they need to be measurable, and you need to be able to plan for them effectively. Each quality objective should have actionable components: you need to be able to articulate when something is going to be done, by who and with what resources.
Another important aspect of developing quality objectives is they need to be able to resonate with everyone within the organisation. There is little use having objectives that are relevant to specific roles in the business. If you have multiple operational roles, such as logistics or accounts, the person manning the warehouse is not going to resonate with that general goal to grow the business. This comes down to making your quality objectives realistic for everyone in the organisation to be contributing towards. There is nothing wrong with having general aspirations to grow your business but you also need to have other objectives that are relevant to all aspects of your business.
The key things to take away about quality objectives are;
- Make sure you’ve got your objectives are written somewhere: It is common for clients to have their on their website as well.
- Make sure they resonate with each role within your business: there needs to be something there for everyone.
- Make sure you can measure them.
- Ensure they are analysed and reviewed – such as during your management review – for more on management review, read the guide here.